Officially a part of the Hapuna Beach State Recreational Area, Waialea Bay is the smaller sister of striking Hapuna beach separated by Kanekanaka Point, but she is nevertheless not less popular. Like less famous sisters, this beach has been suffering from an identity crisis over the years. It has been referred to by many names other than it's official name over the years. Names like Wailea (like the Maui resort) 69 like the mile marker at the intersection and others have been attached to this attractive beach that has been a local alternative o the more resorty and touristy Hapuna for years.
AT A GLANCE
Highlights: Narrow but lovely white sand shoreline, shaded beach areas and interesting lava rock outcroppings and unique natural features make this beach interesting and intimate.
Activities: Boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling, swimming depending on ocean conditions. Sun bathing, picnics, scuba diving, kayaking, and shoreline hiking trail.
Warnings: Winter months bring higher surf and stronger rip currents, rough and dangerous conditions. Windy conditions are prevalent in the winter months. Stinging Portuguese man-o-war jelly fish frequent in varying numbers 10 days after the full moon. Do not leave any valuables in your car at anytime. Open daily at 7am. Gates close promptly at 8p.
Amenities: Parking lot (nominal fee for non-residents), paved walkways, handicapped parking area, restrooms, picnic tables, trash cans, drinking water, pay phone, showers.
Directions: Waialea Beach is located 6.5 miles south of Kawaihae Harbor. From Kona International Airport at Keahole proceed north along Queen Kaahumanu Highway (Highway 19) for 22.5 miles. Turn left onto Puako Beach Drive, then right on Old Puako Road. The entrance to the parking lot will be on the left.
What Waialea lacks in size and facilities to neighboring Hapuna it makes up in intimacy, character and shade. Designated as a State of Hawaii Marine Conservation District, this small beach has been legislated into preservation for generations to come. Beach goers need to know that this means along with taking fish, taking coral, rocks or sand is illegal. In addition, fishing is allowed for consumption purposes and only with a permit. Posted signs with the name of the bay misspelled (!) outline the regulations for public reference.
The beach offers a variety of settings for a variety of beach goers. A small section to the north offers lots of sun, gentle sloping shoreline where families with children gather regularly. Those who prefer their beach experience to be quieter and shadier can opt for the southern end of the beach where Kiawe trees shade the beach from the tropical sun.
Overall, Waialea beach is the perfect beach for those who prefer a more protected and sheltered setting. This is especially important in the winter months when the larger beaches in the area experience rougher conditions and strong undertows. Take along a picnic lunch and beverages since there are no snack shop available.
Along Old Puako Beach Road
Kamuela HI 96743
GPS: 19.980488 , -155.825669